Rein­vent­ing main­stream me­dia

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - BY TIBS PALASAN

Main­stream me­dia can­not op­er­ate in the same old ways, slant­ing the news to in­ject their po­lit­i­cal col­ors. CNN can­not play democrats, and Fox news, the repub­li­cans. ABS-CBN should stop play­ing as plat­form for the “yel­low­tards”.

The ways of the past, adopt­ing po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates as their own, mask­ing the truths to fine tune to their ide­olo­gies, must stop.

If not, the op­tion of the main­stream me­dia is

to lose their sig­nif­i­cance, and their voices drown in the avalanche of the voices in the so­cial me­dia. Jour­nal­ism, as we knew it be­fore, would be re­duced to what Juan dela Cruz pour

down in blogs, up­dates, and wall posts. Pro­pa­gan­diz­ing, slo­ga­neer­ing, and even pros­e­ly­tiz­ing has no more place in the main­stream me­dia. To con­tinue this path is to blur fur­ther the thin line that sep­a­rates jour­nal­ism from the wall posts and up­dates in the so­cial me­dia. It would be a kiss of death for the main­stream me­dia.

The fak­ery that is spread in the broad­sheets only ag­gra­vate the sit­u­a­tion. It is no dif­fer­ent to the fake news that are be­ing shared, re-posted, and go­ing vi­ral in the in­ter­net.

In this time that even a Juan dela Cruz can main­tain a blog to spread fak­ery, the chal­lenge for the main­stream me­dia is not to re­ply with slanted news but with a thor­ough in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism. The me­dia is called upon to rise up to the chal­lenge of putting up news that can with­stand the test of truth and im­par­tial­ity.

So­cial me­dia is a plat-form of free ex­pres­sion. But it is still in its for­ma­tive stage. Out there in the dig­i­tal world, it is a freefor-all for fake news and lies, com­pet­ing in the ob­vi­ously out­num­bered and out-shouted ar­ti­cles that bear truth and cred­i­bil­ity.

It may take some­time for the so­cial me­dia to be a re­li­able source of in­for­ma­tion. It is still find­ing its proper shape and form. In its evo­lu­tion and devel­op­ment, so­cial me­dia may find its own pur­vey­ors of truth and re­jec­tors of fake news. One day, so­cial me­dia may es­tab­lish its own self-reg­u­la­tion.

But un­til then, jour­nal­ism, the pro­po­nent of truth and cred­i­bil­ity, must ad­here to a higher stan­dards than be­fore. In­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism must be able to ed­u­cate, clar­ify, and pu­rify the fak­ery in the in­ter­net.

The true jour­nal­ists are our only van­guards against false­hoods. They should not suc­cumb to the temp­ta­tion of slo­ga­neer­ing and pro­pa­ganda.

I re­call in the 1982 Fo­lio of the Col­le­gian, then ed­i­tor-in-chief Roan Libar­ios, in­scribed in stone the chal­lenge to jour­nal­ists: “Jour­nal­ism is not only a pro­fes­sion. It is a vo­ca­tion. It is a com­mit­ment”. Jour­nal­ism calls upon the com­mit­ment to truth.

Com­mit­ment to truth how­ever de­mands a higher stan­dard of re­search, in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ob­jec­tiv­ity, and com­pe­tence.

Jour­nal­ists should ad­here to higher stan­dards. They must ed­u­cate the com­mon man, and help them dis­tin­guish truth from lies, fic­tion from re­al­ity. Iron­i­cally, it is in the ed­u­ca­tion of the com­mon man that will ul­ti­mately de­liver the death blow to the fake news be­ing spread in the in­ter­net.

A com­bi­na­tion of cred­i­ble jour­nal­ist and an ed­u­cated reader will ul­ti­mately win the day in this bat­tle be­tween fak­ery and truth.

The main­stream me­dia has no other op­tion. Or else, it will lose its sig­nif­i­cance in the dig­i­tal world - and in the real world as well.

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